Incredibly silly as this will sound, one of the reasons for the unconscionable delay in starting this blog (which I first resolved to do around a year ago) is this: I didn’t know what to write in the description. It was tempting to follow the example of friends who’ve said things like “this is my pulpit, my podium…and my epitaph” (sorry, Rumman) or “this blog is dedicated to life as I know it…” (sorry, Rajat) in their blog intros. But I didn’t want to dash off something that would sound too clever or smart-assed (though I confess that’s partly because it would take a lot of hard work to come up with something that would even just seem clever).
Hence the pseud-simplicity of the username jaiarjun. My full name is Jai Arjun Singh and it’s served me well in the cyber age; there are millions of Jais and millions of Arjuns but I hold the patent for the conjoined version, which means I don’t have to contend with infernal “Username taken” rebuffs each time I attempt to create an email account/choose a sign-up. (My mail Ids are firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Boring but practical.)
It was a whimsical, on-the-spot decision to use ‘Jabberwock’ as the Blog title. Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky, a wonderfully evocative bit of nonsense verse from Through the Looking Glass, is one of my favourite poems. It isn’t that well known outside biblio circles, nor is it so esoteric as to seem pretentious (in fact, someone else on Blogspot has a homepage with the URL jabberwock.blogspot.com). And at another level, I can always engage in some clever phonetic play by suggesting it be read “Jai-be-wacky”.
Wackiness, unfortunately, is not something that comes naturally to me when writing. I’m a bibliophile and working as a journalist allows me to indulge my interest at a professional level – through book reviews and author profiles. But it’s one of the occasional strengths, and frequent weaknesses, of my writing that it often lacks spontaneity. I break into a cold sweat when I have a 1,000-word book review to write; I interrupt the reading process to make notes and mark page numbers; I formulate sentences in my mind and write them out (with pen! on notepad!) long before typing out the final draft; and at the end of it all, I’m painfully aware that something is missing. Maybe that something that comes from just sitting in front of the computer and writing whatever comes into your head, with the knowledge that as long as your thoughts are clear the pieces will somehow fall into place – and minor restructuring can always be done later. It’s the fluid, untrammeled writing process that I’m hankering after.
And what better place to start than a blog…